The ongoing wreck that is the Obamacare federal exchange frankly keeps drawing my eye. It’s actually interesting that it does: I mean, I knew that it was going to be bad, and I even knew that it could get this bad – but it’s been staying this bad for longer than I’d have expected. Heaven knows why (we haven’t even seen yet the really awful parts*), but the administration has decided to ride this pony for a while.
Megan McArdle, in between bouts of horrified fascination** at all of this, takes the time to look at four of the current myths about the Obamacare exchanges (she politely didn’t mention that those were all delusions held by boosters of Obamacare). This one is a doozy, and the only one I hadn’t heard yet:
If the exchanges don’t work, as a last resort, we can always get people signed up through call centers. It’s true, there are call centers. But the computer systems at the call centers for states running the insurance exchanges are the same as the computer systems that consumers are having such a hard time with. A nice woman at a federal call center told me that (at least for the state of Florida, where my in-laws live) there is an alternate procedure: They can fill out a manual application in PDF format. But she also told me that it takes three weeks for that application to be mailed to your house. After you receive it, you check the application to ensure it’s accurate, and then mail it in. One to two weeks later, you will be notified of your subsidy eligibility. Then you can actually enroll in a plan, though she wasn’t quite clear on how that part would work — do you call back again?